By Christopher Tenpenny
It has been an up and down season for the Harrisonville football team, but it is all put to the side once the postseason begins. The Cats put themselves in a position where the team had to travel to Grandview Friday night where they dominated in all three phases of the game, defeating the Bulldogs 51-15.
“They did a good job of getting their fight back,” Harrisonville head coach Kyle Schenker said. “We challenged them. We have to learn to face our fears and not let the other things bother us. We need to accept what we do well.”
The game started out with each team trading touchdowns in the first quarter. After Grandview scored on its opening possession, the Cats drove down the field using the ground game. Nate Reynolds had a 37-yard run and Carson Miller added a 23-yard run. Quarterback Espen Glenn capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown. Cats led 8-7 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs offense ripped off a 58-yard run and later scored on a 10-yard touchdown. The Cats had a difficult time getting the ball carrier in its grasp and the coaching staff made an adjustment.
“We needed to make some adjustments to deal with their speed and shiftiness,” Schenker said. “We simplified things and started slanting to try and corral them. They are a little more athletic than us, but we have to play to our strengths.”
With the Bulldogs now leading 15-8, the Cats took over this game. The defense did not allow another score as the offense continued to move up and down the field. Glenn would score his second one-yard touchdown to give the Cats a 16-15 lead.
Harrisonville would add to its lead on its next possession as Glenn found Kale Weber through the air for a 19-yard score. Weber had to go up and fight for the ball before staying on his feet, breaking two tackles and crossing the goal line.
Now leading 24-15, Harrisonville took over with 1:30 left in the second quarter and zero timeouts. It was no problem for the Cats as Glenn connected with Cameron Loeffel for 35 yards to the Grandview 18-yard-line. With 17 seconds left and the Grandview defense expecting a pass, Reynolds scampered 18 yards, breaking a couple tackles along the way, to score a touchdown right before half. The Cats dominated the second quarter and now led 30-15.
“We had strong drives and we sharpened things up on defense,” Carson Miller said. “I thought we did a good job all around.”
The Cats came out of halftime not wanting to let Grandview get back into the game. The offense constructed a seven-minute drive ending in Glenn’s third one-yard touchdown. Glenn’s final rushing line read five carries for one yard and three touchdowns. He was also 5-6 passing for 96 yards and a touchdown.
“Espen is tough. He’s a little bit of a gunslinger and that’s OK,” Schenker said. “He loves playing football and we will take everything he brings to the table.”
The rushing attack of Miller and Reynolds continued to race up and down the field as the Grandview defense had no answer. Reynolds, a freshman, finished with 235 rushing yards and a touchdown. Miller had 114 yards and a touchdown. Gabe Messer added a three-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. In total, the Cats finished with 336 rushing yards and six touchdowns, all without All-State running back Jace Reynolds. Reynolds dressed for the game but is still nursing an injury and Schenker said he was not going to play him if he did not have to and he will be reevaluated this week.
The win keeps Harrisonville’s season alive and sets up a game with Lincoln College Prep (9-0) tomorrow night in Kansas City.
“We have a great challenge ahead of us and we look forward to that,” Schenker said. “We are going to have to have a good gameplan. It’s going to have to be simple, we know what’s in front of us. We know nobody is going to give us a chance, and that’s OK. We are OK with that. Let’s go shock some people.”